From 2011 to 2016, expenditures on R&D increased the most from higher education (42.6 percent), other nonprofit organizations (35.5 percent increase), and the private sector (29.0 percent increase). Federal expenditures on R&D decreased by 3.4 percent from 2011 to 2016, the only source to decline over that period. An analysis of R&D performance from 2011 to 2016 shows increases among business (23.7 percent), other nonprofit organizations (15.9 percent), and higher education (12.4 percent), while other performers saw smaller gains.
R&D intensity, calculated as the share of R&D expenditures to gross domestic product, declined by just 0.3 percent from 2011 to 2016. This finding suggests that R&D and GDP increased at similar rates during those years; GDP increased by 20.0 percent from 2011 to 2016, while total R&D expenditures grew by 19.6 percent.
Basic research expenditures represented 17.1 percent of the total, on average, for each year from 2011 to 2016, while applied research (19.5 percent) and experimental development (63.4 percent) comprised the remainder. From 2011 to 2016, basic research and experimental development expenditures increased at slower rates (18.2 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively) than GDP, while applied research expenditures increased at a faster rate (22.2 percent).
It is worth noting that 2016 data, which comes from the Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF), is based on performer-reported expectations and will be adjusted sometime next year.
The data used to inform this analysis can be found in the attached excel file.
r&d R&D performance and expenditures, 2011-2016.xlsx